For someone who is dealing with breast cancer, it’s always a surreal feeling when initiatives such as this are circulating. I first experienced this last October during Breast Cancer Awareness month. I was newly diagnosed. I was coming to terms with how my life was changing, and all of a sudden breast cancer was everywhere. And I was no longer the one supporting the cause; I was the cause.
In the past twenty-four hours I feel like I’ve been both explaining and defending the #nomakeupselfie trend. Yesterday morning I woke up and my Facebook news feed was inundated with #nomakeupselfie posts. But they really didn’t make any sense. What were they for? So I did some research to understand what it was all about.
It’s actually unclear how the trend started. Barefaced photos started circulating both Facebook and Twitter with #breastcancerawareness #nomakeupselfie tags. The Cancer Research UK quickly jumped on the trend and asked people to donate a few quid. The trend then evolved. The idea, now, is for you to take a photo of yourself make up free, post it, nominate a friend to do the same AND donate to Cancer Research UK (or another cancer organisation). For those in the UK, it’s easy – they have set up a way for you to donate! Text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3. Easy. Effective. One person also pledged to donate 50p for each like she receives to Cancer Research UK. Just another idea how you can make use of this trend.
In reality, those who are just posting photos with #breastcancerawareness #nomakeupselfie are not doing anything wrong. It started that way. Cancer Research UK saw an opportunity and jumped on it and has raised over one million pounds! Well done to them. But, I personally have no idea how posting a pic without make up raises awareness to breast cancer. And I mean that in the nicest possible way…
As you are aware, I am part of an online support network for young breast cancer patients. Well, the #nomakeupselfie has not gone down well with most members of this group. Why? Because they also can’t understand how this helps the cause. This group contains members who are newly diagnosed, survivors, and women who are terminal. As I lived in the UK, have a lot of friend in the UK, and see a lot of news feeds from UK organisations I’ve felt the need to defend the trend. I’ve re-posted all the news reports coming from the UK websites, which has seemed to calm a few people down (yes calm…there were a few fiery comments circulating!).
As for breast cancer awareness, I personally think there are so many campaigns that help raise awareness. I sometimes feel sorry for people who are affected by a different type of cancer. We (BC) get a lot of attention…I guess boobs have always drawn more attention.
Some people have suggested the #nomakeupselfie was started because women going through treatment don’t wear make up. For most people this isn’t true. I wore more make up through chemo than usual! I spent more time filling in my eyebrows, using blush and bright lipstick etc. It helped detract from the bald head. It helped me feel better. And this is why a lot of women who are going through treatment are frustrated by this trend.
So what are we doing globally, outside the UK?
It’s still possible to donate to a cancer charity. In Australia we have so many! And all their pages have links to donate (I’ve posted a few below). It would be great if one of our organisations jumped on the trend and set up a facility to donate such as the UK. I might have to send this suggestion out to a few organisations today…
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a hater. I’ve seen posts from Australia, from the UK, from breast cancer patients, from friends and family who have been affected by breast cancer. I feel like the middleman in all of this. This blog is not intended to offend anyone who has posted a pic. It’s about explaining and defending the trend.
I personally won’t be taking a selfie. Not because I’m against it, I have other ways I donate and raise awareness. But that’s just me…
Australian Cancer Research Foundation
National Breast Cancer Foundation